2015 APA Scholarship Recipient Dylan Kuchan
by Andrew Vogeney
It's crazy to think it was nearly 11 years ago that I earned my pilot's license, just a few weeks before graduating high school back in New York. I was so fortunate to have attended a half-day program in high school that funded a great deal of my training. So when Stefanie and Jim asked me to join the Arizona Pilot's Association Scholarship Committee, it was only after a brief hesitation that I said yes. My goal - aside from getting back into aviation myself after a long hiatus - is to do whatever I can to encourage younger pilots to become and stay active in aviation, so it was a no-brainer.
A few days before presenting our 2016 scholarships we received an email from Dylan Kuchan, a recipient of last year's scholarship. He sent along photos from his solo - a moment I bet none of us have forgotten. Below is a Q&A with Dylan, a deserving young pilot who has benefited from our scholarship. If you're as proud as I am to be helping these kids fulfill their aviation dreams, consider making a donation to our scholarship fund!
Andrew: Tell me about your first solo?
Dylan: My first solo was one of the most exhilarating moments of my entire life. I thought that I’d be nervous going up without the safety net that was my instructor, but once I pushed that throttle all the way to maximum power and took the airplane off by myself, I felt a huge surge of confidence and satisfaction. That, to me, was the most defining moment of my training thus far; that flight was such a huge success that I felt even more motivated and compelled to keep working harder, with the intent of hopefully accomplishing more in the future.
Andrew: What are your aviation dreams and aspirations?
Dylan: I intend to be an international airline pilot. The entire reason I want to fly is because of my undying passion to travel: all my childhood I’ve traveled around the nation and parts of the world with my family, and seeing new cultures and experiencing new places was something that I enjoyed strongly. Considering that my dad is an engineer for Boeing here in Mesa, I’ve always been very interested in aircraft and flight; so one day, I hope to revive a salary by doing the activity I find most satisfying and invigorating while at the same time gaining new experiences from all around the globe.
Andrew: How has the APA scholarship helped you?
Dylan: This scholarship has been a tremendous help to kick-starting my aviation career. When I first learned about how much it costs to be a pilot, I had a miniature heart-attack; even though I was confident my parents would be one hundred percent happy with supporting me financially to reach my dream career, I still felt sorry for putting such a huge burden on their wallets just so I can have fun flying planes and living the dream. Now, not only has this paid for a quarter of my private pilot’s license, but it also gave me confidence and hope towards managing the rest of my flight training, and helped relieve that tense consideration I had towards my parents. I am unimaginably appreciative towards this amazing opportunity that I received, and I put every dime of it towards my training with the hopes that I will not only become the best aviator I can be, but also towards becoming a contributing member to the aviation community one day as well.
Andrew: What phase of your flight training are you in now?
Dylan: Right now I am about complete with my flight training. I should be doing my solo cross-country in about a week or two, and then finishing up the final three lessons before doing my check ride and finishing the course by around the middle of May. I am very satisfied with the work I have put forward towards this goal, and have enjoyed every minute spent while at the controls of an airplane. I would not be in the excellent position I am now if it were not for the amazing help that I have received from the Arizona Pilot’s Association one year ago.